1912 – 1970
Who was James Fisher?
James Maxwell McConnell Fisher was a British author, editor, broadcaster, naturalist and ornithologist. He was also a leading authority on Gilbert White and made over 1,000 radio and television broadcasts on natural history subjects.
Fisher was the son of Kenneth Fisher,; his maternal uncle was the Cheshire naturalist Arnold Boyd. He was educated at Eton, and began studying medicine at Magdalen College, Oxford, but later switched to zoology. He took part in the Oxford Arctic expedition in 1933 as ornithologist. After university he joined London Zoo as an assistant curator, and during the war studied rooks for the Ministry of Agriculture. He later became a leading member of the RSPB and IUCN, a member of the National Parks Commission and vice-chairman of the Countryside Commission.
James Fisher was one of the members of the small party that on 18 September 1955 raised the Union Flag and took official possession for the UK of the tiny, uninhabited, rocky islet of Rockall, in the North Atlantic.
As well as writing his own books, he was an editor of Collins' New Naturalist series. He was the resident ornithologist in the regular "Nature Parliament" series broadcast in the 1950s on BBC radio as part of Children's Hour. It is likely that his writing and broadcasting played a significant role in the growth of interest in birdwatching in the United Kingdom in the post-Second World War period.
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